Anyone who knows me KNOWS that I can eat Mexican food every day of my life! It’s just something that I never tire of. In Columbus, the Mexican food scene is pretty much an oligopoly; there are two main restaurants that are basically “the popular kids” and you’ll see locals flocking to them in droves, especially on weekends and Wednesdays (margarita night, ’round these parts). I sometimes find myself among the flock, but on this particular day, I wanted to try a different spot… somewhere I’d never been before. So on my lunch break, I salsa’ed on over to La Nacional!
Before heading over, I did my research, and I knew that this was going to be a buffet situation. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I am not the hugest fan of buffets. Often, I am turned off by the very thought of one. After a couple of good experiences (see Taj Mahal), I am starting to open my mind to certain buffets, so I decided to give La Nacional a fair chance. Honestly, I can’t say I regret my decision!
La Nacional offers everything you could ever want… quesadillas, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, tamales, fajitas, the list goes on and on! There’s rice, beans, all the toppings you could ever dream of (my favorite was the cilantro-onion relish… so so good). I was pretty much in Mexican food paradise. At most restaurants, fajitas are one of the most expensive things on the menu, because it comes hot off the grill, but here at La Nacional, you can eat all the fajitas you want for one cheap price. You can’t beat that with a stick! All of the food was tasty and well-seasoned, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ate. I really liked the chicken (pictured above); the flavor was impeccable! I am not the expert on Mexican food authenticity, but I feel confident saying that this is the real deal, and if not, it’s pretty darn close.
La Nacional definitely has that local mom-and-pops vibe to it, which (in my opinion) are the best places to eat here in town. It is certainly no frills; it is a place to stuff your face and get on with your life, plain ‘n simple. There is nothing fancy about it, but the food is good, so you’re not really too worried about the ambiance. Our server came and checked in on our drinks at appropriate intervals, and was constantly walking around keeping the place clean. I definitely appreciated that, because one of my main gripes about buffets is the cleanliness. When my co-worker and I went to pay for our meals, our cashier was a very sweet, smiley lady who reminds you of your grandma. She invited us to come back, as if she were inviting us back into her home. Those friendly, personal touches are what really completes a restaurant experience for me, and I definitely take note of those nuances. It makes supporting local businesses worthwhile.
La Nacional changed my view on the Mexican food experience. Why feel limited to combo specials, when you can mix and match as much as you want, AND not have to worry about waiting? At La Nacional, you just dive right in, and man it’s some tasty divin’!
Score: 3.75 / 5
La Nacional Mexican Buffet is located at:
4403 17th Ave
Columbus, GA 31904